Tibetan and Himalayan Library - THL

THL Title Text
Antiquities of Zhang Zhung
by John Vincent Bellezza
Edited by Geoffrey Barstow, Mickey Stockwell and Michael White
Tibetan & Himalayan Library
Published under the THL Digital Text License.

I.2. Residential Structures in Other Locations: Religious and Elite Residences

TrandraKhra ’dra

Basic site data

  • Site name: TrandraKhra ’dra
  • Site number: B-44
  • Site typology: I.2a
  • Elevation: 4640 m
  • Administrative location (township): RecoRe co
  • Administrative location (county): RutokRu thog
  • Survey expedition: HTAE
  • Survey date: October 4, 2003
  • Contemporary usage: None.
  • Identifiable Buddhist constructions: None.
  • Maps: UTRS I, HAS A1
  • View Place Dictionary Entry
  • View Site Images

General site characteristics

The single all-stone corbelled structure of TrandraKhra ’dra clings to a bluff suspended about 20 m above the eponymous watercourse, which flows through the left fork of the RamaRa ma valley. The site is named for a rocky conical mount that rises above the mouth of the effluent valley. TrandraKhra ’dra is situated just below the rim of a long bench that runs along the left side of the valley. The dokhangrdo khang (8 m by 4.7 m) was built in two tiers, each of which may have supported three rooms. Only scant structural evidence is still at hand. Much of the structure has been swept down the bluff and portions of it have been buried. The walls (45 cm to 60 cm thick) are of the dry-stone random-rubble variety and contain variable-length stones (20 cm to 80 cm). The maximum extant elevation of a wall fragment is 1.7 m. Some of the structure has been filled with sand that has fallen from the bluff. This heavily built structure clearly had an all-stone roof assembly. On the east side of the upper tier, a couple of roof slabs are still in situ. The larger of these slabs (1.2 m long) shelters a space that has almost completely filled up with soil. A partially submerged corbel 1 m in length was detected at the site. In a wall of the lower tier another corbel appears to be in situ.

Oral tradition

According to local sources, TrandraKhra ’dra is an ancient residential structure.

Affiliated sites

TrandraKhra ’dra agriculture

TrandraKhra ’dra, the left effluent of the RamaRa ma valley, supports the most extensive agriculture still carried out in RecoRe co. These viable fields are situated amid ancient “MönMon” agricultural lands. Old retaining walls (Zhingrazhing ra) are visible everywhere. Perhaps only 10% of the original farmland in the RamaRa ma valley is still being cultivated. According to Döndrup PüntsokDon grub phun tshogs (born circa 1923), a native of RamaRa ma, the Trandra ChuKhra ’dra chu used to feed many of the upper fields and all those on the west side of the main valley in ancient times. The Trandra ChuKhra ’dra chu is now sometimes dry even in the summer months, so the fields it used to irrigate have been long since abandoned. Döndrup PüntsokDon grub phun tshogs attributes the radical reduction in the agricultural production of ra ma to a water shortage. He adds that “MönMon” fields are found in other valleys (such as Omlung’Om lung, DzauDza’u (sp.?) and NyenlungGnyan lung) in the region, but these were much less extensive than those in RamaRa ma. It is somewhat anomalous that no remains of a settlement or elite architecture were discovered in the RamaRa ma valley, given its erstwhile economic importance. It does, however, support three different funerary sites (D-94, D-95 and D-96).


Note Citation for Page

John Vincent Bellezza, Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland (Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010), .

Bibliographic Citation

John Vincent Bellezza. Antiquities of Zhang Zhung: A Comprehensive Inventory of Pre-Buddhist Archaeological Monuments on the Tibetan Upland. Charlottesville, VA: Tibetan & Himalayan Library, 2010.